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Galilee: promising soil for Jesus' message

July 13, 2023
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Daily Scripture

Mark 1:28, 39

28 Right away the news about him spread throughout the entire region of Galilee….

39 He traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and throwing out demons.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

“The shores of the lake were the site of towns—Capernaum, Bethsaida, etc.—where much of Christ’s ministry was carried out. In his time they formed a flourishing, almost continuous, belt of settlement around the lake, and communicated and traded across it with each other…. Its agriculture, fisheries and commerce provided him with his cultural background, and are reflected in his parables and teaching…. its dense scattering of settlements formed their first mission field.” *

Click here for a NASA photo of the Galilee area with notes by Resurrection member Stephen Miller, who publishes at stephenmillerbooks.com.

  • “Inhabitants of Jerusalem regarded Galilee as a backward locale (cf. Acts 2:7), peculiar first of all because of its dialect (Matthew 26:73).” ** Ironically, Galilee was a better spot for much of Jesus’ ministry because of the prejudice of Jerusalem’s spiritual and political elite. Fewer of its people were sure they already had all of life figured out. In what ways have you had to lay aside ideas you learned from human sources in order to fully live out the principles Jesus taught?
  • But that didn’t mean Jesus always found an eager welcome, even in Galilee. Reisner referred to many Galileans as “conservative country folk.” ** The gospels tell of times when some of Jesus’ unexpected actions or words met considerable hostility in Galilee (cf. Mark 3:1-6, Luke 4:16-30). It took courage to respond to Jesus and follow him. When have you met with ridicule or opposition for expressing your faith in words or in lifestyle choices?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, you found promising human “soil” for your message in Galilee, along with some who hated what you stood for. In some ways, that sounds a lot like my world. Give me your vision and steadfast courage. Amen.

GPS Insights

Mikiala Tennie

Mikiala Tennie

Mikiala Tennie serves as the Student Discipleship Program Director with Resurrection Students. She has nearly 20 years of volunteer and professional ministry experience and loves walking alongside and encouraging others in their spiritual journey. Mikiala is blessed to be an adoptive aunt and godmother to many kiddos and lives with her 10-pound Yorkie, KiKi Okoye Tennie.

I was born on the west side of Chicago and had the privilege of calling the city home for the first seven years of my life. When I was preschool age, my mom was able to stay home with me while my dad worked at Motorola in Schaumberg, Illinois. I don’t remember details of my time in Chicago at great length, but I have wonderful snippets of great memories. My mom would take me on adventures around the city and as young children do, I latched on to certain landmarks that were interesting to me. The Picasso sculpture, the flamingo sculpture, and Harold Washington library where we got to check out books on cassette tape. But one of my all-time favorite sights to see was and is Buckingham Fountain. There’s something so fascinating, so aesthetically pleasing, so majestic about that beautiful fountain with the expansive Lake Michigan going on as far as the eye can see right behind it. 

 

I found myself viewing that great lake from a different vantage point this week–it’s Serve Trip season for Resurrection Student Ministries and the 9th-12th graders are serving in the greater Chicago area this week. On Sunday, after our groups attended church with our partner organizations, we had a few hours of fun on the beach of Lake Michigan. 

Our current Jesus at the Lake sermon series is teaching us about the ministry Jesus did near the Sea of Galilee, also known as Lake Kinneret. Jesus did extensive ministry on that particular lake, and Scripture tells us that word spread very quickly about all work that Jesus was doing in that area. It makes sense that news of Jesus miraculously feeding 5000 people, calming storms, walking on water, and teaching The Beatitudes would spread quickly. 

Here on our little trip near Lake Michigan, we are taking our cues from Jesus. This week I saw students serving food to people committing to get their lives back on track after drug and alcohol abuse. I’ve seen students fix up homes for grateful residents. I’ve seen students working in difficult circumstances to bring a future food pantry into its next phase of preparation so ministry can continue locally. I’ve seen students brighten the day of a child whose home life is unsettled. I’m so encouraged by the willingness of this team to partner in ministry like this. The news of Jesus’ love, care, and ministry is still being spread much like it was over 2000 years ago. 

Jesus never walked along Lake Michigan or through its surrounding cities, but Jesus has and is doing ministry here–and I’m just glad that we got to be a small part of that ministry this week. 

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* J. H. Patterson, article “Galilee” in The New Bible Dictionary, Third Edition. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1982, p. 395.
** Rainer Reisner, article “Galilee” in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992, p. 253.